The Versatile Leah Cypess

By Carl Slaughter: Leah Cypess’ debut fantasy novel, Mistwood, was greeted with rave reviews by library journals and peer authors. She followed this with three more novels, all from Greenwillow/HarperCollins. Her July short story, “Filtered,” was her sixth science fiction story in Asimov’s. “Cupid’s Compass” appeared in the September/October issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine.

Her fantasy stories have classic settings: Sorceresses, assassins, shapeshifters, ghosts, royals, castles, forests. Her science fiction stories are science based, character-oriented: how people are affected by and respond to technology in a deeply personal way. Her original career was law. She now writes full time.










  • “Cupid’s Compass,” (Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sept/Oct 2016.)
  • “Filtered,” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, July 2016.)
  • “Forgiveness,” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, February 2015.)
  • “What We Ourselves Are Not,” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, September 2013.)
  • “Distant Like the Stars,” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2013.)
  • “Nanny’s Day,” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, March 2012.)
  • “Twelvers,” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, July 2011.)


Everyone tells Isabel that she is the Shifter – the ancient shape-shifting creature who has protected the kings of Samorna for centuries. They need her to be the Shifter. Prince Rokan risked everything when he rode into the Mistwood to summon her to his side; Ven, the magician’s apprentice, has devoted his life to studying her legend; and even Princess Clarisse, who fears and hates her, depends on Isabel’s powers to further her own plans.

But Isabel doesn’t feel like the Shifter. She feels like a lonely human girl, beset by flashes of memory that do more to confuse than to help her. If she is the Shifter, why can’t she change her shape? Why doesn’t she remember what made her flee the castle so many years ago? As she is drawn deeper into a web of magic and assassination, Isabel will have no choice but to look for answers. But her search will lead her to the one question the Shifter hasn’t faced in a thousand years: where does she come from, and what does she really want?


  • A traditional premise is transformed into a graceful meditation on the ramifications of loyalty, duty and purpose… Astonishing and inspiring.” – Kirkus (starred review)
  • “Fans of Megan Whalen Turner’s ‘Attolia’ books will be drawn to similar hidden political currents within the court, and fans of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling will wholeheartedly embrace Isabel as a reluctant warrior heroine treading in unfamiliar waters of the heart.” – School Library Journal
  • “An unusual, suspenseful fantasy that is propelled by well-placed clues.” – ALA Booklist
  • “Edge-of-the-chair reading, with enemies and betrayal at every turn!” – Tamora Pierce, author of New York Times bestseller Bloodhound
  • “Cypess’s spare but evocative language built a world that stayed with me long after I finished her story.” – Megan Whalen Turner, author of New York Times bestseller A Conspiracy of Kings
  • Mistwood is the stuff of true fairytale: mysterious, unsettling, romantic, surprising. An elegantly executed novel with enough twists to satisfy and a love story of some subtlety. I look forward to more by this author.” – Juliet Marillier
  • Mistwood charms and fascinates and sometimes leaves you breathless as it spins a story about a supernatural heroine, a mysterious forest, a court intrigue, and a desperate set of secrets. Leah Cypess’s debut novel explores the limits of magic, the price of love, and the cost of being human. My kind of book.” – Sharon Shinn, national bestselling author of Archangel

Sample chapters for Mistwood

Video for Mistwood:


Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

4 thoughts on “The Versatile Leah Cypess

  1. That’s spelled “Cypess,” by the way.

    And I feel lucky to have been reading her; I only heard of her because I met her back when I was working on kids’ programs at conventions. The last day of a long weekend, the kids got tired of having themselves scheduled, and Leah Cypess very gamely went along with their alternate plans for the time slot where she was programmed to give them a reading.

  2. Lowell Gilbert: That one’s on me — I simply couldn’t see the name without an R so I made a “correction.” Unfixed now, so to speak. Thanks for catching it. Appertain away!

  3. Ugh. I read “Mistwood” and it infuriated me so much I swore off Leah Cypess. She tried hard, I think, to set up an impossible-to-solve and tragic situation, but her “heroine” came off, to ME, instead as a cold, heartless bitch.

  4. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 11/13/2016 - Amazing Stories

Comments are closed.